Meet Your Coast Guard Reserve

This is the 25th post of a month-long question and answer series, introducing members of the Coast Guard’s Pacific Northwest Reserve Force and recognizing their contributions to our country and community.

Marine Enforcement Specialist First Class Greg Blakley
U.S. Coast Guard Reserve
Coast Guard Station Bellingham (Washington)

Blakley family

Q. Where is your hometown?
A. I was born in Albuquerque, NM, which is where I spent the first 21 years of my life before enlisting in the Coast Guard. While on active duty, I served in Corpus Christi, TX, in the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and in Bellingham, WA. I now call Bellingham home and have been in the Pacific Northwest since 2006.

Q. How long have you been in the Coast Guard? Prior active duty?
A. I enlisted in the Coast Guard in 2003 and was on active duty until 2009. I was a reservist in Port Angeles, WA from 2009-2010 before getting out of the Coast Guard. I re-enlisted in 2014 and have been at Station Bellingham ever since.

Blakley Coast Guard Swearing inQ. Why did you join the Coast Guard? Why do you stay/what keeps you motivated?
A. I initially joined the Coast Guard after a buddy enlisted and came home telling me about the Coast Guard’s mission. Prior to that, I knew nothing about the Coast Guard and, on a whim, decided to enlist. I stay motivated because I truly believe in the Coast Guard’s mission, and enjoy being able to help people while keeping the country safe.

Q. Have you been deployed since joining the reserves? If so, where and when?
A. I was deployed to the Gulf of Mexico in support of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. While there, I performed a variety of duties that dealt with oil cleanup, inventorying supplies and working in a local command center out of Panama City, FL.

Q. What are some of your responsibilities while on duty?
A. While on duty, I serve as a crewmember on the Response Boat-Small and as a boarding officer. I also conduct law enforcement training to boarding team members and boarding officers at the unit and ensure all law enforcement currencies are up to date.

Q. What do you do on a typical duty day?
A. A typical duty day consists of arriving at the unit, conducting boat checks and mustering up. Then, we typically conduct training and get caught up on currencies. After that we will get underway and conduct training while patrolling the beautiful San Juan Islands!

Q. What’s your most memorable experience since joining the Coast Guard?
A. Though I have many memorable experiences in the Coast Guard, some of the best include keeping a boat from sinking with my finger and a rag while it was towed back to port and saving a hypothermic father and son from the water after their kayak sank.

Blakley USCG2005Q. What is your occupation outside of the Coast Guard? Where?
A. I am a Marine Interdiction Agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations in Bellingham, WA.

Q. How do you balance Coast Guard and civilian life? Any challenges?
A. I have a very patient and understanding wife and family that understand that I have to be away from home sometimes, and know that they support me in what I am doing. It can be challenging to have to say no to that weekend camping trip because you have to drill, but it is definitely worth it in the long run!

Q. Are there any skills you’ve learned through the Coast Guard that you apply to your civilian career and vice versa?
A. Absolutely! I would not have my current career if it weren’t for the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard gave me the skills and experience to be qualified for my civilian role and also introduced me to my job when both agencies conducted interagency operations together.

Q. How does being in the reserves impact the service as a whole?
A. I believe the reserves greatly increase the effectiveness of the Coast Guard as a whole. From deploying for national emergencies and other significant events, to supplementing the active duty crews at a station, we help to ensure that the Coast Guard operates smoothly and effectively.

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